The Athenian Constitution

Author: Aristotle  | Date: 328 BC


The juries for the law-courts are chosen by lot by the nine Archons, each for their own tribe, and by the clerk to the Thesmothetae for the tenth. There are ten entrances into the courts, one for each tribe; twenty rooms in which the lots are drawn, two for each tribe; a hundred chests, ten for each tribe; other chests, in which are placed the tickets of the jurors on whom the lot falls; and two vases. Further, staves, equal in number to the jurors required, are placed by the side of each entrance; and counters are put into one vase, equal in number to the staves. These are inscribed with letters of the alphabet beginning with the eleventh (lambda), equal in number to the courts which require to be filled. All persons above thirty years of age are qualified to serve as jurors, provided they are not debtors to the state and have not lost their civil rights. If any unqualified person serves as juror, an information is laid against him, and he is brought before the court; and, if he is convicted, the jurors assess the punishment or fine which they consider him to deserve. If he is condemned to a money fine, he must be imprisoned until he has paid up both the original debt, on account of which the information was laid against him, and also the fine which the court as imposed upon him. Each juror has his ticket of boxwood, on which is inscribed his name, with the name of his father and his deme, and one of the letters of the alphabet up to kappa; for the jurors in their several tribes are divided into ten sections, with approximately an equal number in each letter. When the Thesmothetes has decided by lot which letters are required to attend at the courts, the servant puts up above each court the letter which has been assigned to it by the lot.


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Chicago: Aristotle, "Chapter 63," The Athenian Constitution, trans. Sir Frederic G. Kenyon in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0 (Irvine, CA: World Library, Inc., 1996), Original Sources, accessed April 24, 2018,

MLA: Aristotle. "Chapter 63." The Athenian Constitution, translted by Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, Irvine, CA, World Library, Inc., 1996, Original Sources. 24 Apr. 2018.

Harvard: Aristotle, 'Chapter 63' in The Athenian Constitution, trans. . cited in 1996, Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, World Library, Inc., Irvine, CA. Original Sources, retrieved 24 April 2018, from